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Does the thought of packing up for the weekend (or longer) and heading out to a cottage sound amazing? What about heading out to your own cottage?

There’s something about getting away even if it is only for a weekend. And buying a summer getaway could be very tempting. It is very typical in Northern Ontario (Sudbury in particular) for homeowners to purchase camps nearby to have a summer getaway for relaxing, fishing, and spending time outdoors with family and friends.

Buying a second property for a family camp or summer getaway is a big decision. Before jumping into anything, consider the following to help guide your cottage buying decision.


Do you already own your own home? Chances are, if you’re considering buying a cottage, you are already a homeowner. The very first question you should ask yourself is if you can you afford a second home.

Take into consideration:

  • How much expendable income do you currently have?
  • Do you have a down payment saved?
  • How much debt do you currently have?

To get started, put your income and debts into a spreadsheet to determine:

  • How much income do you have coming in each month?
  • What expenses do you have every month? This includes
    your current mortgage, debt payments, cell phone, internet,
    retirement savings etc.

This is a great exercise to see how much monthly cashflow you have. You might also get an idea of where you might be able to cut out expenses, and things that you can stop in order to start saving more money and spend less. This exercise might also show you if you could or couldn’t afford another property.

Banks and mortgage brokers offer several ways to purchase an additional property to pay for a second property such as a cottage. You may have the option to increase your mortgage on your current home, or setting up a second mortgage. Your income will obviously have to support the additional mortgage payments.

Before thinking of buying a second property, speak with a financial institution or mortgage broker to see if your income and debt can support a second mortgage.

The next step once you know how much you qualify for a cottage purchase would to be to calculate the total cost of owning a cottage.

Take into consideration things like maintenance, taxes and snowplowing in the winter months. You will likely need to purchase things for your newly purchased camp such as bedding, fishing items or outdoor patio furniture.


Once you know you can afford to buy a cottage and the amount you can spend, you need to decide on a location. Sometimes you might already have a general area in mind, but you want to get really clear about the location.

Start out thinking of the local area you want to be and then think specifics:

  • Do you want to be close to a town, or totally secluded?
  • Do you want to be right on the lake (if you can afford it)?
  • Do you want neighbours close by?
  • Do you prefer a wooded lot with plenty of shade, or do you want a lot of sunlight?

Get very clear on your ideal location and make sure you spend some time in the area before you choose a camp to buy. You don’t want to settle into your dream cottage, only to find out that it’s too noisy/ quiet, or not located to the things you want.

Once you have these location items figured out you can start thinking about your ideal cottage.

Cottage Structure

Once you find your ideal location and hopefully the cottage you want to purchase, take a good long look at the cottage specifically.

You need to consider the obvious things like the number of bedrooms, the condition of the structure itself, the condition of the electrical etc., but also things like where your water comes from and if its winterized.

Other things to consider:

  • Does the cottage pump water from a lake or a well?
  • Are the lakes nearby accessible to you, and
  • Is the road to your cottage open and maintained year-round?
  • Does the sewage system work?
  • Will you be able to renovate or build additions to the cottage?
  • How much land is included and where does that land end?

When you’re using a real estate agent to help you find your perfect cottage or camp, they will help identify potential hazards to watch for.

Are you considering purchasing a new cottage or camp in Northern Ontario? Contact me today to discuss how to get started and how I can help you through the process.

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